Kakamas is a rather small town situated in the Northern Cape of South Africa. This interesting town was originally built by a church and named after the Khoi word for ‘poor pasture’. Today, this name poorly reflects on a fertile valley in the lower Orange River, graced with vineyards, cotton and Lucerne fields.
Legend has it that grazing in the vicinity was poor and, when cattle were driven through the river’s drifts, some consistently turned on their drivers. To others, the town’s name originates from the Khoi word, “gagamas” (brown), referring to the red clay of the area with which women smear their faces. This lovely town was built on the sheer hard work and determination of a few impoverished stock farmers at the end of the 19th century.
In 1897, the Dutch Reformed Church started a colony on the farms Soetap and Kakamas on the banks of the gorgeous Orange River for white people who had lost everything as a result of the drought. Each farmer helped build an irrigation project, and was rewarded with a plot of land irrigated by the resulting canals and tunnels. Despite the criticism they received from qualified engineers about their building methods, the farmers continued to construct the water canals by hand.
Today, they are still used to supply the town and surrounding areas with water for irrigation. Two tunnels of 3-4m high, 2,5m wide and 97m and 172m long, were dug by hand as part of the canal building project and were completed in 1911. Many of these fascinating tunnels can be explored by visitors.
The towns found in the Green Kalahari are:
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